New to LingQ, am I missing something? How to use this platform if you are advanced?

How can I use Lingq as an advanced speaker?

I feel I am missing something about how it works.

It seems extra work to get things on here to then study them when I could consume the media in its “natural state”.

I already collect new words via email off my kindle, by screenshotting subtitles on my phone, by collecting phrases and expressions from my ahem toilet books (dictionaries and reference books - 1 page a day ha ha). These words and phrases go into my various flashcard systems.

I would like to use LingQ - it’s cool to have such a good system that quickly creates flashcards off media that I import here - but is that it? Does it also create high quality transcripts for example? Or…

What other ideas are there for how to use this resource?

Maybe it depends what you mean by “advanced.”

I’m at a good B2 level of French. It’s upper intermediate, working to “advanced.” Often… if I want to consume something in French that is at a C1 or C2 level, I’ll read it in LingQ first, familiarizing myself with any new vocabulary or idioms. If I want to consume something in French that is a B2 level, I might listen to and watch it first, and then read through it in LingQ to confirm what I tried to get through context.

If by “advanced” you mean my robust C2 understanding of my mother tongue English, I do actually use LingQ here to. I use it to get past sloppily coded paywalls, where the content is actually put out in the public for search engines and LLMs to analyze yet they’ve put up a “please subscribe” dialog box. Quite often, I can import content from sites like this using the web plug-in.


Ha ha - that is hilarious! You’ve got me curious about what sites…

And yes you are right that “Advanced” is almost useless as a moniker. SO to give some context, I have been in Italy nearly 20 years, my wife and kids use Italian as their primary language with me (the kids are young and get a LOT of English input and I don’t force them to speak in English if they don’t want… but anyway that is another discussion.

I also don’t work in Italian but all my family and social life is, so my primary focus is Conversational Italian (lots of common to less common expressions but not Italian of a highbrow nature - I have no interest or desire to be erudite in Italian.) So that also means slang, and words that have “surprising” meanings. And of course learning all the cultural references about which the conversation is based!!!

I will play some more with LingQ, I am wondering if this would be the place to listen to podcasts…hmmm

Reading here alone, when you are focusing on understanding meanings of complete sentences seems not as reassuring as using a good parallel text with a translation by a paid expert.

My method of screenshotting videos/tv is more labourious but the reading is always accompanied by the visuals for context and memory enhancement. (Perhaps I am doing it wrong here)

Hmm, let me try podcasts…

That gives some great context. Thanks.

A few things…

First, LingQ does best when it knows your vocabulary, almost to the word. Right now, LingQ thinks I know about 35,000 words of French. And that’s really close. When I import an article, podcast, or video into LingQ it analyses it. The words I already know are set in a white background (nearly all the words), the words I somewhat know are in yellow, and the words I’ve never seen are in blue. I can then quickly see which are new to help me learn them.

However… here are some key limits. LingQ is all about words, and really their primary or any definitions. It sounds like you’re often needing to learn secondary meanings, that you’re needing to learn additional slang meanings to words. For example, in North American Gen Z English, “cap” can mean a lie or something otherwise false or exaggerated. You’ll already know that “cap” is a hat and LingQ would think you already know the word.

Then also, LingQ is more about words than multi-word idioms. Here, maybe think of North American Gen Z English “glow up,” meaning someone improved from where they used to be. LingQ would think you already knew the word “glow” and the other word “up” and wouldn’t really be of any help unless you went out of your way to select both words together to see if there’s anything in the dictionary. Then… there might or might not be something in the dictionary, as it’s crowd sourced. In English, I did just find in the LingQ English->English dictionary Gen Z definitions for “smol,” “clapback,” “cheugy,” “vibing,” “stan,” and “slaps,” but didn’t find contemporary definitions of “boujee,” “cap,” or “no cap.”

“No cap” means “I’m not BS’ing you” and I’m not.

Anyhow, that’s the state of the English->English dictionary in LingQ. I would only imagine the Italian->Italian and Italian->English dictionaries to be less robust from crowdsourcing.

Finally, I will say that at more advanced levels, I find LingQ’s web plug to be the near sole way I engage content in LingQ.

See: LingQ Importer - Chrome Web Store

Do take a moment to try it out. Install it and bring an article into LingQ and see if the Italian-> English and Italian->Italian dictionaries have what you’re looking for.

While LingQ is at it’s best when working with words, the built-in ability to quickly translate a sentence is usually pretty good. I think LingQ now uses DeepL rather than Google Translate which was used prior. Maybe importing podcasts and listening/reading along would be good and then when you encounter a word you don’t know, you hit the audio pause button and take a moment to translate the whole sentence and then check word-level definitions before moving on in the podcast. Personally, I usually find the Podcast in Youtube and then use the web plug-in to bring the audio and transcript into LingQ to then work with.

A supplemental, and rather manual, thing you could do then is to take the text of the podcast (I use “Print Lesson” and the “copy” from LingQ) and then paste it into ChatGPT with some sort of prompt derived from such as “Please identify and explain the idioms and slang in the following text.” I’ve found ChatGPT to be fairly helpful with such as this. It knows what it means to be “living rent free in someone’s head.”

I’m in my mid-fifties. My wife is a school principal. My stepdaughter is twenty-three and manages younger staff at the local grocery story. While I have a large, even rather erudite English vocabulary, I frequently have to ask them what popularly evolving words mean. They chuckle at me as they explain.


For me lingq only really gets going at advanced levels. If you are not sure what the benefit is, it´s very simple - you import things you want to learn, and you then have an integrated database of your vocab/sticking points.
For example - in Swedish I have some words I have made false associations with over the years. I was C1 in Swedish about 10 years ago, and I re-read stuff from that time and realised I actually didn´t understand it 100%. I missed a lot of the tone, a lot of the nuance and a lot of the vocabulary I flat out didn´t really understand as I had a “mechanical” understanding of it but would never be able to translate it properly to English.
I would imagine, however good you are at Italian you´d probably be surprised to read some stuff in Italian you´d read before and understand you actually missed some of the deeper meaning (for example prosaic phrases can be translated).
Then if you view in sentence mode, you can review and “tough” language and drill it.
Lingq is a filter on your learning which enhances it. Yes, you should foray into the wild. But in reality you are probably missing a lot which you didn´t even realise you were missing.
For Italian - youtube channels like Kurzgesagt and Italian fairy tayles are really good. I found an Italian channel with about 300 fairy tayles, this is often a big hole in adult learners “game”.
There is a website Improve your Italian pronunciation using YouTube which hotwires youtube in order to find the exact collection of words or phrases you´ve just come across. Therefore I use it for Swedish if I find a phrase I am “sceptical” of, and I think “no… this can´t be real” then I put it in, and I get 100 hits back, I realise “this is something.”
With Italian where it has some really hard grammar, it can be very useful.
There is a lot more too, but it is fantasic for reading novels in (I would recommend modern and also older ones).
There is a lot of free content good for Lingq like out of copyright texts, so you can read the bible, famous authors etc and you´ll end up with a massive boost to your vocab.


Thanks for your time and your great explanations!

I see what you mean about the top meaning of words as being central - although I will play around to see if it recognises when words are with different words and then changes to less common meanings - although real slang, needs access to Urban Dictionary etc. “Cap or no cap” is a great case in point! (I had never known what it meant either… I just went with the video flow…imaging something like that I think - so thanks again!!)

I will have a look at the podcasts and ChatGPT mix and see what gets thrown up. In a way as you approach near-native levels half the battle is trying to preempt what you might hear or come across in your personal lifestyle (ie for me not many old fashioned or mainly academic terms).

Thanks again, I will be coming back to your ideas and testing them out, thanks for your time it’s much appreciated!

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Thanks for these comments and ideas! Oh yes you are right there is always more Italian to learn and, for me at least, pronunciation and prosody to improve upon! Oh yes indeed!

I will definitely check out those Italian resources and see what they throw up!

You mention “Sentence mode” - is that found while you are reading? I will have a look!

Thanks for your time and ideas - very useful!

Yes, at the bottom of the page. You have “page view” or “sentence view”


Thanks - I will check it out!

I have discovered how to become advanced only after starting to use Lingq. I struggled to feel any progress at all for 30 years and now am working with LIngq to determine how many words I know in various languages. My stats are not yet a reflection of what I know but of how much time I have spent using lingq to find out how many words I know, if you follow.

The solution for obtaining a high level is absolutely to read only content that interests you. I was forced 35 years ago to read things like Heinrich Heine or Schiller, at Uni, and this switched me off completely to German.

Select your genre, and read ten novels, and ten non-fiction, each of which will usually contain 10,000 unique words. Once you have read 10 of each (in my case only thrillers and self-development books interest me) there won’t be much else you will ever need.

Lingq tells you how many words you are going to acquire as you read and for me the game changer is seeing the stats increase. I have a real sense of making progress, and that encourages me to stick with it. Finding time around work is the hardest part.

One hour a day over a year is enough to raise yourself two or three levels on the CEFR.


Alan, I think you are right about reading and scaling the CEFR ladder - and then once you are at C2+ I am not sure reading (of well written text) should be the core language practice* - there really is the need for spoken forms and language which can be very different (and totally relies on you having that solid reading background 100%).

*Unless your language goal is based around the written form.

However books that are written in an informal spoken style are a great resource - aiming to get the best of both worlds!

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In LingQ you can “manage” the dictionaries you have available to you. There is a default set.
You’ll see when you click on a word in the browser and on the right side (if you leave that vocabulary pain up), you’ll see your word with popular meanings, but you’ll see you have a bunch of dictionaries to choose from. You can click “manage” and rearrange, or add dictionaries you prefer (and get rid of ones you don’t). Some dictionaries are better than others at getting the idioms and colloquialisms. Also, if you expand all the popular meanings you may already find that someone has identified that meaning.

At its core, Lingq is an assisted reader. It allows you to import content you like, look up words as needed. Or translate phrases, or full sentences (as someone pointed out sentence mode is great usually at deciphering the full meaning of a sentence). You can import from youtube (if there are subtitles), import the transcript from netflix movies/shows, import audio (like a podcast) and have it transcribe for you. It doesn’t always get the transcription correct, but it’s as good as anything out there currently. ymmv depending on the language.

It does have an SRS system (I don’t use) as well. Also some review “games” you can do at the end of lessons, or in between pages or sentences if you choose. Then it also keeps your stats.

So you have to way whether that’s of benefit to you at the stage your at. If you’re at an already advanced stage, it might not be worth it. But you could always try for a month or a few and see if you find benefit with it. Perhaps you may decide you want to try another language =)

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Eric that is great info!!

I really want to try LingQ properly and this is exactly the type of info I wanted to know before I made a uninformed judgement - thank you!

Start a new language? Ha ha - maybe one day when I have finished Italian… …

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Getting to B2 is the first step. I recommend Hugo’s in 3 months plus Assimil. Plus the “Easy Spanish or whatever” series, or 101, on Google Chrome using Language Reactor.

Then it’s on to 10 books preferably while listening to the audiobook too and suddenly everything you watch is recognisable.

You need several hundred hours of watching.


I looked at your profile and saw that you teach English. In which case Lingq is also an excellent way to keep track of your students progress. For example - I use it to put the notes I generate in a course into a “lingq course” and it tells me how many unique words are in it, etc. Very good to give them a few stats at the end of term. As you´re probably teaching people who mostly speak Italian then you can use the English in order to translate into Italian. I do this for Slovak so I understand how words are translated.
Translations are interesting because they come with a social baggage - you start to understand the students confusion sometimes when you see how words are generally translated into their language, and you realise the word it translates into also has a completely different meaning to the context it is found in.
Maybe Italian translators are better, but when people use English to Slovak dictionaries it almost always picks the most obscure meaning to put first.
If you even do translation it can also be very useful to see how the dictionaries translate things from English to Italian as may well still speak English with the words changed, rather than use the Italian way of thinking.
I have experimented with the English lingq and translated texts I´m working with into Slovak, German and Swedish and quite often it translates it in a way I didn´t realise was possible. You can also get your students to make free accounts and give them tasks.


That’s really resourceful of you to keep adding value for your students - I bet you are a great teacher!

I’ll definitely look deeper into this as a tool for teaching too!

Truth be told I first used LingQ many years ago and have recommended it many many times to students over the years - and then recently I said to myself that I should have another look. So here I am, looking to road test it as much as possible!

Thanks once again for your time and ideas - much appreciated!

At an advanced stage first of all I read the book on LingQ by looking up words. If somehow I can buy a physical book or can borrow it from a public library, then I read it extensively (without looking up words). I do it right away as meanings of unknown words are still fresh at the back of my mind. Reading twice (once intensively on LingQ) then extensively on a physical book is the fastest way to cement most unknown vocabulary. Steve Kaufmaan does it too.

Reading with a translation helps with meaning but later on when you have to produce the language somehow you need to open a grammar book at some stage. Also, I have noticed that having grammar knowledge really improves the absorption/immersion rate of the language and helps me to purge any external aids in the form of bilingual translation. Now I can read any German text fluently without using translation as the aid. However, doing grammar drills is not necessary but reading through about grammar concepts might help with understanding of the text. Hence, enabling you to dive into the language directly and probably sooner rather than later.


Interesting, I also believe in studying the grammar - and perhaps like you - my take is that it helps you see the text better so it becomes more comprehensible so it makes it easier to acquire.

Krashen poo poos almost any non compelling input but if you are interested in grammar, if you are motivated as Kaufman said in a video, then it is compelling too.


I use LingQ to import ebooks (this post explains how to do it: How to Import Ebooks on LingQ - LingQ Blog) that I buy on Google Play Books. It really takes only about 3 minutes to get it uploaded to LingQ. That’s been a game-changer for me. I spend so much time reading now, thanks to LingQ, that I had to buy an e-ink reader because I was getting headaches from reading on an iPad with all that glare.
The other thing I use it for is to import YouTube videos. Once you get the LingQ extension for your browser, it’s just a click of a button and LingQ will upload the video, with the audio and subtitles, to your lessons. This only works well if your video has subtitles–otherwise it can be a bit of a mess. But I still think it’s useful because you can use it as a playlist and go around listening to it as you cook or clean or go on errands. I take the extra step of making mp3 files from YouTube videos so that I can add that to the lesson as audio, and then I can make LingQ playlists. There is a never-ending source of interesting content out there so as everyone is saying, it’s when you reach that advanced level that LingQ can really come into its own.